Seattle September Visit and Saying Good-Bye

September 11 – Flew the Alaska albatross home to Seattle. Ah, was good to be home, except wait, our house was totally under construction so we couldn’t actually stay there. The sun was bright and shiny when we arrived, albeit cooler than San Diego. Lucy dog was happy to see us when we pulled in to the hood. Staying at the Lord’s and dog sitting Lucy was just what we needed!

September 15 – Birthday season was upon us! Happy Birthday to my love of my life who turned the big five oh! Hard to believe. Dinner at the Rasmussen’s was so much fun!

September 16 – Mini golf for Kyra’s birthday proved to be a hit! Crisp in the morning, but by 11am at Willow’s Run Putt Putt, it was sunny and warm.

September 20 – What an amazing opening performance by Columbia Choirs at the Mariners game! Love their singing: The Star Spangled Banner.

September 22 – Having 5-7 girls over for a teen birthday party was quite an experience! MOD pizza all around. Loved seeing my sister, Ang, and having dinner together.

September 25 – The big surgery day. Tonsils be gone with you – from Camille’s throat! Went smoothly just not the post pharmacy pick up of drugs. We sure have a pharma system that can make things complicated. For Hydrocodone had to have prescription in hand, no electronic business. Not many pharmacies had liquid pain meds so went all over the place. Finally found one but they explained that the doc had prescribed something no longer made and needed another hand-written script! Ugh!

September 29 – When Kyra’s actual birthday day came, she asked to eat at El Gaucho – yummy choice! We gorged ourselves because, besides the dinner, it was my first time getting dessert too. Bananas foster flambé tableside. I always wanted to do that and now had enough people to justify it. Rich beyond words but so worth is!

October 6 – Not sure how I squeezed so much stuff into the day. Annual doctor checkups then Camille went to Imagine Dragons with Maya (Jeff and Jocelyn took them, while Juli returned the pair – thank you so much). Sushi spread with Bill, Liz and Anne was awesome, and wine with the ladies was even better.  Probably drank too much but had to get my fill.

October 9 – So good to be “home” on the boat in San Diego to sleep in my own bed. Flying today from Seattle back to San Diego. Happy to find warmth, leave the cold behind. Sad to leave friends and family, but oh so thankful to them all for their generosity, support and love as we embark on this year long sailing adventure.

San Diego Arrival

September 10th – Early morning we rounded Point Loma heading into San Diego bay. Sun intensity was low in the early morning, but increasingly warmed our backs as we chugged South to Chula Vista Marina. Driving past all the navy ships confirmed for me that our country’s naval force is massive.  The huge, hulking ships were impressive in size and capabilities.  Don’t mess with the US Navy!  They’re like whole cities in and of themselves.

Happy arrival, happy crew!!  The early-bird, chatty, live-aboards wanted to get all our info as we were docking, coming in. Thank goodness for one nice guy who hopped off, came round and helped with lines instead of trying to ask us a gazillion questions as we landed, with no reverse!  Darn engine.

The cleaning and stowing began.  Not used to the heat, we sweated and panted our way through the day of chores.  By evening, when all settled down and was quiet in the marina, kids in bed, we heard as strange crackling on our boat.  Thought our fiberglass hull was cracking apart.  Dave and I spent 20 minutes listening in several nooks and crannies on the boat.  Then he had a brilliant idea:  get off the boat and check around other boats.  Listening carefully near the hull of a neighboring boat, we realized we weren’t the only ones.  After a quick search online, we discovered the noises were simply the friendly shrimp with their electric barbs zapping in the water.  Phew!

Passage Making Part 2

California Cruising Crew

September 5th – I must admit that passage making isn’t my favorite, but passages give me time to reflect and settle my mind and body because I don’t feel much like doing anything too involved. Even if I did, my body tells me to stop and focus on the task – seafaring. I guess it’s my body’s way of telling me to become one with the boat, her movement, her needs and quirks as we move through the water, whether calm or raucous. Never before have I experienced rhythm like you do on a boat. Rhythm in so many ways: rocking, routines, meals, chores, space, sleep, movement on deck, through the cabin or hanging on while on the potty, changing watches, writing in the log book, checking gauges, fuel tanks, battery levels, etc. I can feel the boat and I feel my body. All senses are heightened. I cannot really explain it properly in words. It’s just a different mode or pace that I shift into without intent, it just happens.
The monotony of passage making is arduous but there are rewards. It’s like the ocean or sea knows this, so it sends emissaries with gifts:

  1. The blue whales that swam next to us and surfaced 10 feet from our boat then swam right under the bow to join each other ahead of us was so incredible. I was in awe squealing with delight alongside my kids. We were under sail and plodding along when suddenly, there they were! It’s like they came over to say “hi” and check us out. These creatures are so big and graceful. We saw more of these whales but never as close again.
  2. The dolphins were another gift. I cannot recall which day or time we first saw them, but they came frequently. They would zoom in, race to the bow of the boat and leap playfully in and out of the wake of the bow. We could hear them chittering too. Sometimes there were so many it seemed like a soup of dolphins, other times, only a few came. One night, in the sparkling moonlight on the water we saw them coming, leaping through the glittering moonlit water. I tried to capture it on video or photo, but it wasn’t going to happen. This will just have to be a memory of perfection I hold in my mind.
  3. Another night, when the moon wasn’t up, I looked over the side of the boat to catch a glimpse of a strange, glowing object coming straight for our hull at high speed. First thing that came to mind was a missile. I listened and watched. Nothing impacted. Then the sound of leaping and chittering at the bow. More dolphins came and the same thing: they resembled glowing missiles coming across the water headed straight for us because they were covered in phosphorescence. I was simply happy to see dolphins, but glowing dolphins?!!
  4. The sea giveth. I awoke one morning to an excited crew busily pulling in a big fish and cleaning it. Seth had ordered a hand-line with a squid lure for our trip. He put it out trailing behind us and after a day or so, low and behold we caught a fish. I tasty one too! The cleaning of it made quite a mess but I was super stoked to eat fresh fish!

September 8th – Monterrey Bay came into view and we tied up just after sunset. The entrance was fine, but landing at an end-tie with a thigh-high barricade was awkward at best. Turns out this barrier is to keep sea lions from climbing onto the dock and lounging about. Huh, that was a new one to us. We quickly tied up and scurried up to shore, made our way to a Mexican restaurant and gorged ourselves.

The first time our feet were on solid ground for a week. My sea legs were fighting hard to stay intact. My land legs wanted to take over. I had the boat rocks pretty hard. Good thing we took off early the next morning, so my body wouldn’t get too used to land or marina flat water.

The fuel dock was busy with fishing boats fueling up right at the 8 a.m. open so we had to wait a bit, but we slipped in between some and got the stink eye from one waiting for us. I smiled and waved to them as we pulled away, but the 3 or 4 men onboard just stared and scowled at me without averting their eyes as I steered/captained the boat while Dave handled lines. Screw you too, you crusty old men who must not think a woman belongs at the helm! That or they were pissed they had to wait 5 extra minutes longer than usual for us (sailing vessel) to fuel. Oh well! Off we went, Seth waved good-bye and zoomed off north to San Francisco. Sad to see him go, but was so thankful for his support and help from Seattle to Monterrey. Loved having him onboard for our first family passage out on the big ocean.

Raining in La Cruz

Good morning from beautiful Banderas Bay! We’re in the marina at La Cruz just up the bay from Puerto Vallarta. The rain has finally caught up with us, but we knew that would happen eventually as we moved south. Fortunately, it’s light and refreshing and has brought the temperature down to 73° from the high 80s. It’s nice to be at the dock again for several nights, as we had a few very rolly polly nights underway and at anchor before arriving here.

Low clouds over the hills bring morning rain.

Good morning from beautiful Banderas Bay! We’re in the marina at La Cruz just up the bay from Puerto Vallarta. The rain has finally caught up with us, but we knew that would happen eventually as we moved south. Fortunately, it’s light and refreshing and has brought the temperature down to 73° from the high 80s. It’s nice to be at the dock again for several nights, as we had a few very rolly polly nights underway and at anchor before arriving here.

I’m sorry we’re a little behind on our blog post updates as we know all of you are interested in where we are, what we are seeing, and how life is going on the boat. As you might imagine, moving around from place to place and trying to keep up with schoolwork, bills at home, boat maintenance, meeting new friends, and seeing new places. It’s not all fun and games and lounging about!

La Cruz is a small fishing village that was much sleepier 10 years ago until the Marina Riveria Nayarit opened their doors (slips?) 10 years ago, bringing many more visitors to the village. We’ve already discovered a delicious Italian/pizza restaurant, German restaurant (and beer), plus the usual smattering of Mexican fare. Jess and Janet Coburn are the proprietors of Todo Vela Mexico, a small but well-stocked chandlery, with very fair prices compared to most chandleries we’ve come across, including a place in Cabo that stocked half their store from West Marine at triple the prices. In my view, this is another version of modern-day piracy. Jess is also an excellent rigger and helped me with a couple rope splices I’m learning.

Jess of Toda Vela teaching me pro splicing techniques.

While we are here we are trying to catch up on everything, including some blog posts. The girls have been trying to finish the semester and take their tests to earn some holiday vacation. We are trying to finish up teak varnish and treatments to protect our wood from the strong sun, install new dinghy wheels to make beach landings easier, get window shades made, have our laundry done, and more. As we’ve found everywhere, the marina staff is very friendly and helpful. We found some local help on the dock for our wood projects, so we don’t have to sand and clean so much. Parts and materials are 30% or more expensive here, but the lower cost of labor helps make up for it.

Tomorrow we’re moving further into the bay for several more days at Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta. Our friends Craig and Trish Unger are flying down for the holidays and we’re excited to meet up with them for a few days and get in some fun gaming time. Please let us know what else you’d like to hear about in future posts. We hope everyone is ready for an enjoyable holiday season!

Passage Making from Seattle to San Diego

September 2nd – Amongst much low-lying fog, but sun on our heads, we sailed past the coast of WA lickety split because we had plenty of wind. Even the coast of Oregon seemed to zoom by since we had good wind.

September 4th – We fell into a routine for our passage making from Seattle to San Diego.  Night shifts consisted of 3 hour stretches between myself, Seth and Dave. Continue reading “Passage Making from Seattle to San Diego”

Leaving Seattle

September 1st – Bittersweet (sunny and beautiful morning as we waved good-bye to Seattle) departure from Elliott Bay Seattle after fueling and stowing like crazy the day before.  My cousin Seth came with us for the passage.  Even the Straits of Juan de Fuca were kind to us – smooth as glass as we went out.  We shared the Straits with the Stenis aircraft carrier, a cruise ship fully decked out and disco music going and S/V Manna (Curtis and Julie Denmark) who we happened to berth with at Chula Vista Marina and become fast friends.

Enroute to Bahia Santa Maria

Greetings from the next leg of our Baja Ha Ha rally! Despite our late start from San Diego we arrived in Turtle Bay in just two days with a pack of boats coming in just after dawn. Most of the trip down the 313 nm was motor sailing due to light 3-5 kts winds. We sailed under main and spinnaker for about 3 hours on the second day before winds let us down again.
It was in interesting two days in Turtle Bay as local fishermen in their “panga” boats came out to offer taxi rides, garbage pickup (basura), ice (hielo), and fuel at a pricey $6/gallon. We opted to fill our four Jerry cans with 20 gallons but the credit card machine was down due to bad connectivity. We were told that 4 rallies pass through this little fishing village each year and the locals are friendly and helpful, and certainly happy for the business opportunity. The kids were let off school on Thursday and Friday to help out their families in support of the fleet and to participate in the baseball game on Thursday and beach party on Friday.
The cell tower had been down when we arrived but was fortunately fixed sometime on the morning of November 2nd. Voice and texting worked find, but data was flaky. We’ll post more with photos when we have a faster data connection. Our next stop will have no services or connectivity.
Fortunately, the wind is back today and we are sailing with spinnaker and main at 7.3 kts down the Baja coast. We had a chance to try out our new spinnaker pole for the downwind run this morning. It’s very pleasant and to be making such good time with no engine noise and mild seas. The crew is in good spirits but Camille and Kyra still need to get going with today’s schoolwork to make up for two short school days at Turtle Bay.
Fair winds until our next post!

Underway from San Diego

We are a day late leaving from San Diego on the Baja Ha Ha due to finding oil on the bottom of the windlass and not being able to tell if it had any oil or not in the gear case. We relocated from Chula Vista to Harbor Island on October 30 while Dave and Kevin set to removing and servicing the windlass. Due to the design of the anchor locker separator, it was not possible to completely remove the unit, but they cleaned and regreased the upper unit and found that the gearbox was full of oil.

Confident that we can now retrieve our anchor we are underway for Turtle Bay and to catch up with the fleet!